BOCA RATON, Fla. — A group of civil engineering students at Florida Atlantic University are in Tallahassee this week for the 2022 American Society of Civil Engineers Southeast Student Symposium.
Civil engineering students from 19 universities in Florida, Georgia, and Puerto Rico are putting their academic concepts to the ultimate test in a regional competition hosted by FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.
This year, 18 competitions are putting creativity and ingenuity to the test.
Thirty students from the Florida Atlantic University student chapter of ASCE are participating and sharpening their skills in construction as demand for housing in South Florida soars.
“I plan to go into structural engineering,” said senior Dominique Bethel.
Bethel understands the integrity of homes and high rises is under scrutiny, as an eyewitness to the condominium collapse in Surfside last summer.
“It did dawn on me, especially after learning about some of those catastrophes,” she said. “I want to build the best structures and I want to build the best foundations possible, so that that never happens again.”
“There's some speculation that impacts from sea level rise and salt getting into the foundation, may have accelerated corrosion,” said FAU college of engineering Associate Dean Frederick Bloetscher.
The challenge is South Florida’s high rises are getting older.
MEETING THE DEMAND ➡️ 30 #FAUEngineering students are putting creativity and ingenuity to the test as they compete against 19 universities from FL, GA, and Puerto Rico. They're sharpening their skills in construction as demand for new housing in South Florida soars. #wptv #wflx pic.twitter.com/PPA6LRoLaT— Linnie Supall WPTV (@LinnieSupall) March 24, 2022
“Buildings aren't really designed to last forever,” said Bloetscher. “The idea is to teach these guys to think about the future and design for the future, not design for today.”
These students are finding a solution, by creating cutting edge concrete with added fibers—a mixture that is more resilient than concrete of yesteryear.
An experiment showed that the new and improved concrete can withstand added pressure and that it’s also more resilient to rising sea levels.
“It's gone from regular cement, with just rocks to now being able to have certain admixtures, certain polymer, certain reinforcements,” said junior Emmanuel Francois.
The goal is to create solid foundations to address emerging issues of construction.
“Hopefully my skill set will help me and creating better foundations for buildings to last longer,” said Bethel.
In 2017, FAU hosted the ASCE student symposium on the Boca Raton campus, which included a balsa wood bridge competition, concrete canoe race, concrete Frisbee, and steel bridge competition.
They’re learning the latest technology and enhancements of reinforced concrete as the construction industry calls for more sustainable and resilient building products.
FAU civil engineering students have been participating in the conference and competition since 2005.
For more information about the FAU College of Engineering, click here.